I’ve been trying to be more conscious of eating locally lately. I’ve been frequenting my local, organic market more and more recently. Not only does the produce taste better but I like knowing where it comes from and supporting more small-scale producers. Even though I was always aware of the produce available (and not available) according to the different seasons, it becomes so much more obvious when the large majority of the food isn’t being imported from elsewhere. It is such a shift from summer into more truly wintery produce. Needless to say, there is a lot of squash, parsnips, and potatoes around. It always takes my brain some time to re-adjust and think about the things I normally make with these ever present winter vegetables that I largely ignore over the summer months. One of the biggest problems I have, especially with squash, is that they are so big. Just one squash is way more than we ever need for any meal and unless I want endless leftovers, I have to think of multiple dishes to make with the same ingredient. While my go-to is usually soup, a couple of weeks ago, I used some acorn squash to make a delicious quinoa salad. So, when I saw a half of a squash being sold at my local market, I wasn’t only thrilled that I wouldn’t have to eat an entire squash by myself but I also knew what I was going to do with it right away. I could picture what a beautiful side dish, or even meal, a quinoa stuffed acorn squash would make, especially at this time of year.
Patties are a whole category of dinner recipes that I love. They are endlessly versatile. You can take whatever vegetables are hanging out in your fridge, combine it with some grains (or not) and spice it up however you choose. But it’s one of those dishes that I always have to pull up a recipe for. The worst (and far too common problem) is putting together all of your ingredients, placing some patties in the pan, and having it all fall apart (literally). While they’re usually still edible, it’s a total pain and the texture is all wrong. That’s why having this broccoli and quinoa patty recipe in my back pocket is so important.
When I’m trying to get out of a cooking rut and make something different, the most helpful thing for me to do is try and think of a cuisine that I am not used to cooking. The other week, we bought some fish with the intention of making fish curry, which I never got in the mood for. Luckily, I thought that moroccan style fish, with a hearty quinoa salad sounded absolutely delicious instead. I hardly ever eat or cook moroccan food. I am not sure why because the flavours are definitely something that I am attracted to. To be honest, I didn’t really have a clear picture of what moroccan food was before I went there a couple of years ago.
We went to Peru a little while ago and I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of food. I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to eat as a vegetarian but it worked out pretty well! One of my favorite things (that even my meat loving boyfriend ordered again and again) was the quinoa soup that was ubiquitous. I never really knew exactly what to expect, it came in a number of different forms. Sometimes there was a variety of vegetables, sometimes very few. Sometimes it had dairy, sometimes it did not. But it was always delicious.